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Should You Cover Your Heat Pump or AC in the Winter?

As summer comes to an end and temperatures start to drop, our technicians always start to receive the same question from customers: Should they prepare for fall or winter by covering their outdoor AC or heat pump system? The simple answer is no, but with a few exceptions! Your outdoor units are made to endure the elements, including freezing temperatures and snow. Covering your AC unit or heat pump in the winter could risk significant damage to your home’s heating or cooling system. 

When Should You Cover Your AC Unit?

An air condenser unit is built to withstand cold temperatures, rain and other harsh elements from the moment it is installed on your property. Covering it is unlikely to to impact how well it runs when you turn it on again in the spring, and can cause potential issues. Covering your AC can trap any moisture already in the unit, leading to rust and corrosion of the internal coils. This is what can turn into a larger issue over time if left unchecked.

The only exception to the no-covering rule is during the fall, you may want to briefly cover your system to protect it from leaves, twigs, and other debris from entering. However, there are certain wraps that cover just the top of your AC made for this exact purpose, which is favorable over using a full cover.

Heat Pumps Are Designed to Guard Against Harsh Winter Weather

When it comes to your heat pump, you should always avoid covering it in the winter. A heat pump is designed to defrost itself periodically throughout the colder seasons. Therefore, it generally won’t spend more than a few minutes or hours covered in frost, ice or snow. By covering a heat pump, you prevent melted ice or snow from draining away from it. Over the course of a single winter, that water may freeze and thaw several times in or around the component itself.

Water damage can result in broken coils or other problems that can be expensive to repair. If you are having problems with a heat pump or other home heating components, reach out to Dugan Heating & Cooling in Franklin, IN, today. We can maintain, repair and install new heat pumps and air conditioners in a timely and affordable manner.

What to Be Aware of if You Do Decide to Use a Cover

Rodents and small animals tend to be attracted to covered air condenser units. This is because they look like small shelters that these creatures can use to protect themselves against fall and winter weather conditions. Therefore, it is important that any cover that you use doesn’t have holes or gaps that can be exploited by a rodent or other pest.

If you choose to use a cover, it is critical that you remember to take it off before running your condenser unit again. Failing to do so could render these heating or cooling components damaged beyond repair. You may want to leave yourself a reminder to remove a cover on your phone or on your calendar.

The cover itself doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be effective. In many cases, putting a piece of cardboard over the top of a condenser unit can be enough to protect it from snow, ice or falling debris.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Appointments

The easiest way to ensure that a heating or cooling component works properly is to schedule regular service appointments. Ideally, these appointments will take place at the beginning of the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, a technician can inspect your air conditioner and fix any issues that might have developed during the cold season.

In the fall, a technician can fix minor cooling system issues that could become larger and harder to fix if allowed to linger until the following year. He or she can also ensure that your heat pump hasn’t experienced electrical or other issues that might prevent it from keeping your home warm.

While at your home, a professional may be able to provide insight into the best ways to cover or otherwise winterize your home’s cooling system. This might help to ensure that any steps that you take to cover an air conditioner or maintain a heat pump are performed safely and properly.

If you need help keeping your heating or cooling systems in working condition, call Dugan Heating & Cooling today! We can also install a humidifier, repair a broken air conditioner or install or maintain your home’s thermostat.



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